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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIERS: Arsenal cruise, Schalke held, Basel score four

The first leg of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League playoff qualifiers were completed on Wednesday night with another lot of interesting results.

Arsenal bounced back to form with a 3-0 victory over Fenerbahce in Turkey thanks to second-half goals from Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud to out one foot in the group stage proper.

The win came after the weekend's disappointing Premier League loss to Aston Villa and will surely give the Gunners fans hope after a dismal beginning to the domestic campaign.

German club Schalke 04 were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece's PAOK in Gelsenkirchen ahead of next week's return leg in Thessaloniki whilst Austria Vienna beat Croatian giants Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 on the road.

Swiss champions FC Basel gave themselves every chance of qualifying with a 4-2 away win over Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad thanks to a double from Mohamed Salah and Polish side Legia Warsaw held Steaua Bucharest to a 1-1 draw in the Romanian capital.

The return legs of Wednesday night's fixtures will occur next Tuesday, August 27 whilst Tuesday night's matches will reconvene next Wednesday, August 28.

2013/14 UEFA Champions League playoff qualifiers

Dinamo Zagreb (CRO): 0 (red card: Ante Rukavina 71') Austria Vienna (AUT): 2 (Marin Leovac 68', Marko Stankovic 75')

Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL): 2 (Marcelinho 23', Ivan Stoyanov 50', red card: Junior Caicara 83') FC Basel (SUI): 4 (Mohamed Salah 12'/59', Giovanni Sio 63', Fabian Schar (p) 83')

Steaua Bucharest (ROM): 1 (Federico Piovaccari 34') Legia Warsaw (POL): 1 (Jakub Kosecki 53')

Schalke 04 (GER): 1 (Jefferson Farfan 32') PAOK (GRE): 1 (Miroslav Stoch 73')

Fenerbahce (TUR): 0 Arsenal (ENG): 3 (Kieran Gibbs 51', Aaron Ramsey 64', Olivier Giroud (p) 77')

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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